Menu

Shop

Garage

Cart

Account

Products to Compare (max of 3)
X
Compare These Parts

Soft Top Roof Insert on a '33 5-Window

3/21/2017

My little coupe rocks a stock body, so it hasn’t been chopped or had its roof filled. Many hotrodders choose to weld a metal insert into their roof for various reasons, but we chose to use fabric for a more traditional look. Buckle up; this post has A LOT of photos, but like ‘Speedy’ Bill always said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

We spent a lot of time readying the roof for its fabric. While I scraped the original sealer tar-looking crud out of the roof rails, my dad drilled out the old pop rivets and spot welds.

We traced the shapes and curves of the roof rails and cut thin strips of thick black mat board. We needed three sets to make a thick enough layer, glued them together and clamped them into place. This will act as our new tack strip.

This is Harry. He owned an upholstery shop here in town and agreed to help us install the fabric. First, he laid out some untreated canvas. He stapled the sides first, pulling as he went and left the corners for last. This minimizes puckers.

He listened to the sound the canvas made when he slapped it with his hand. It sounded like a drum. He trimmed the excess canvas with a razor about an eighth inch from the staples.

Then he rolled out some unrefined cotton. He pointed out the seeds to me. This cotton has layers, which he easily pulled apart to get the thickness he wanted. He laid it on top of the canvas and felt the thickness across the whole top with his hand. He found a low spot and added a little more cotton to that area. He was a real master at work.

Instead of cutting the cotton, which would leave a step in the material, he held one side with a flat hand and pulled to tear the material. He worked his way around the car, tearing the cotton to shape. He mentioned that factory cars used this same canvas and cotton and to be wary of upholstery kits that include a cheap foam.

So, with the cotton all ready, he measured the space for the final black material. (Check out the freshly primered doors in the background. So clean!)

He laid the black material in place and he began to staple the sides like he did with the canvas.

When Harry was ready to staple the corners, he used a heat gun to make the material softer and more malleable. Be careful not to heat the material so much that it becomes shiny.

He did his final check by looking at it and listening to it. It was amazing how much having this piece of the project done changed the atmosphere in the shop. It was finally starting to look like a car and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel for our build.

Related Articles

Toe Adjustment Guide
3/21/2017
Learn how to adjust toe in and ensure your'e driving straight. Adjusting toe on a car might seem like a tricky procedure, but our toe adjustment guide can help.
Roof Railing for a '33 5-Window
3/31/2017
Jess M talks about the finishing touches she put on the soft top insert of her 1933 5-window Ford coupe.
Custom Rear Radius Rods on a '33 5-Window
3/23/2017
Speedway Motors employee Jess M. talks about customizing the rear radius rods she installed on her '33 5-Window coupe.
Moon Discs Courtesy of Quarter Turn Fasteners
3/3/2017
Speedway Motors employee Jess M. walks us through adding a little salt flat flair to her 1933 Ford coupe, by using moon discs and quarter turn fasteners.
Custom Battery Box and Cables
3/3/2017
Speedway Motors employee Jess M. talks about the custom battery tray and cables she built for her '33 Ford.
Rocket Racing Deep Angle Spinner Knock-Offs
2/16/2017
Speedway Motors employee Jess M. talks about the Rocket Racing Deep Angle Spinner Knock-Offs she installed on her 1933 Ford 5-Window Coupe.
Header Suggestions for a '33 Ford
by John Wulbern - Posted in Tech
2/15/2017
In this Tech Tip, one of our customers asks for a suggestion on exhaust headers for his 1933 pickup.
Gorilla Locking Lug Nuts
2/10/2017
Jess M. talks a bit about the locking lug nut set from Gorilla Automotive Products that she installed on her 1933 Ford coupe to help keep her new Rocket Racing Wheels safe.
Hot Rod Hill Climb 2018
9/24/2018
Speedway's own Jess MacKichan ran her hot rod '33 Ford up the mountain at this year's Hot Rod Hill Climb in Colorado! Here's her report, along with some great photography that will make you wish you had been there!
Jess MacKichan named to SEMA 35 Under 35
9/14/2016
Speedway Motors Creative Manager Jess Mackichan named to SEMA 35 under 35.
Error
X
Note
X
Ok